Statues unveiled at Belfast City Hall on International Women’s Day

Statues unveiled at Belfast City Hall on International Women’s Day

Crowds gathered in the grounds of City Hall on Friday afternoon as actors in period costume spoke of social activists and campaigners Mary Ann McCracken and Winifred Carney.

Ms McCracken, born in the Northern Ireland capital in 1770, was part of the revival of the Irish language and a supporter of the United Irishmen movement.

She also worked to help those in poverty, particularly women and children, and campaigned against slavery.

Ms Carney, born in 1887, was an Irish Republican and trade unionist who took part in the Easter Rising in Dublin against British rule in Ireland in 1916.

She went on to campaign for the right of women to vote and stood for election in Belfast in 1918.

They are the first non-royal women to receive the honour of a statue in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

Gerry Murphy, president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions also addressed the crowds, and described the statues as “important recognition of two of the most important female historical figures in our city”.

Mary Ann McCracken and Winifred Carney statue
Mary Boyd (left) poses with her sister Eileen McKay as she takes a selfie with a newly unveiled statue of Winifred Carney (Liam McBUrney/PA)

Lord Mayor Ryan Murphy described them as “two absolutely fantastic Belfast women”.

“With today being International Women’s Day it seemed really appropriate for the unveiling,” he said.

“It is about who those women were, inspirational leaders, campaigners, socialists, abolitionists.

“They really will inspire a new generation of people to go out and continue that fight for equality and women’s rights.”